Just Say No :: Online "Pet Pharmacies"

Warnings on purchasing pet products online


  • Online "Pet Pharmacies"
  • Hartz Mountain Corp Products - Dangers and Warnings


Pet owners need to protect themselves when considering online purchasing from "pet pharmacies". This page focuses on the need for education, investigating online pharmacies, resources and tips for how you can protect yourself from fraudulent online pharmacy practices. See HERE for the topic on Hartz Mountain product warnings.

Online Pharmacies: Pet Owners Beware

On April 16 2002, the Florida Department of Health's Board of Pharmacy reached an agreement with PetMed Express Inc. whereby the company accepted penalties but did not admit guilt. The company was accused of operating an "alternate veterinarian program" that contracted with veterinarians to write prescriptions for animals they had never examined-a violation of Florida law.

"Essentially, PetMed was engaged in an enterprise whereby a customer could log onto their Web site, fill out a questionnaire regarding their animal's health complaints, and that information would then be forwarded to a veterinarian who was either employed by, or under contract with, PetMed," said David Herman, prosecuting attorney in the case for Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration. The veterinarian would review the questionnaire, write a prescription, and send the prescription to PetMed Express, which would fill it.

This modus operandi violates Florida law because the state does not consider the authorizing veterinarian to have a valid doctor-patient relationship. It is also illegal in all but a handful of states, according to Edwin Bayo, legal counsel for the Florida Board of Pharmacy.

The company was also charged with selling drugs not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Savemax Inc., accused of violating similar regulations, also accepted penalties but did not admit guilt.

Story continued ...

More headlines on the situation:

Florida Board of Pharmacy disciplines PetMed Express, Savemax: June 1, 2002

Florida Board of Pharmacy disciplines PetMed Express and Savemax: - April 22, 2002

Novartis sues Internet pharmacies for prescription drug violations: May 15, 2002

PetMed Express disciplined by Ohio State Board of Pharmacy: August 15, 2002

Prescribing and Dispensing: Florida Board disciplines well-known Internet pharmacies

Texas slaps PetMed Express with lawsuit

Note: Petmedexpress is also known as 1-800-petmeds


If you are a pet owner who frequently uses an online pet pharmacy for pet presciptions, please ask your vet to review the following from the AVMA to ensure the participating pharmacy is accredited (requires your vet's membership details):

Addressing Prescribing and Dispensing in Your Practice

Watch for foreign drug diversion to the US (5 Feb 2002)

Watch for number of refills (21 Jan 2002)

AVMA Position Statement on Internet Pharmacies

Untangling the web of Internet pharmacies

Resources for pet owners and organizations helping to address the problems:

Internet Pharmacies-AVMA Tracking Complaints

DEA addresses queries about Internet pharmacies

DEA Diversion Control Program

Dispensing foreign products constitutes drug diversion

Prescribing through Canadian pharmacies: Is it legal?

Internet pharmacies and compounding are high-priority areas, FDA says

How to Spot Health Fraud

FDA's Buying On Line

American Association of Veterinary State Board

Federal Trade Commission

Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

Society of Veterinary Hospital Pharmacists

FTC/FDA Operation Cure-All

More on Operation Cure-All

VPN- California Cracks Down on Illegal Flea Treatments, Violations Listed

FDA's Buying Medicines and Medical Products online-Tips and Warnings for Consumers
(includes information on imported and foreign drugs, internet health fraud, consumer safety guides)

REPORTING FORM to report suspicious fraudulent internet sites


CatHelp-Online urges pet owners to use caution when purchasing pet products online. For more information, see our disclaimer.

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